Notes from Copenhagen – Day 1

By on 15/12/2009 in Blog

Sandy-Taylor-150x150Sandy Taylor, Head of Climate Change and Sustainability at Birmingham City Council, blogs about yesterday’s first day of activity during his visit to the Copenhagen Climate Change summit with Deputy Leader Cllr Paul Tilsley…

It has been a whirlwind time so far here in Copenhagen. The weather is freezing, but we certainly won't let that lull us into a false sense of security about the issues of climate change and global warming, which is why we are here this week.

Organisationally things seem a bit chaotic when trying to get into the various event venues, but with all the high profile politicians that are around, I am sure it is all for the best.

Last night Cllr Tilsley met with Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York, and they discussed the role of cities in taking a leadership role on climate change and especially the New York plans on greener buildings legislation which has juts been passed by the city, and also about Mayor Bloomberg's visit to wind farms in Denmark during his visit to Copenhagen.

We were also very pleased to hear the very strong and powerful commitment form the 1,000+ US Mayors who have committed to making a difference and reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions, just like we have with the Birmingham Declaration here in the UK.

We hope that councils on this side of the pond join forces to tackle climate change in a similar way.

Cllr Tilsley also discussed the role of cities in driving forward energy policy to achieve European targets with Jean-Marc Ayrault - President of Nantes - who is the co-chair along with Copenhagen of the Eurocities Energy and Climate Change Working Group.

Birmingham is an active member of this Eurocities group and Cllr Tilsley discussed the next steps for future financing of cities to reduce energy consumption following on from COP15.

He also met with a company involved with biomass energy and discussed plans for extension of BioEnergy in Birmingham, which are at an early but very encouraging stage.

We also had very useful discussions with Arup on future funding and access to finance for retrofitting of cities to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, which we will follow up in a future meeting in Birmingham.

I personally also had useful discussions with Basle and Zurich on energy planning for cities.

This will provide useful evidence as we prepare a new City Energy Plan for Birmingham in 2010. Both Basle and Zurich were very interested in our Summerfield Eco-Village as it had won the Eurocities Award last month. I look forward to blogging on today's events tomorrow (Wednesday) morning.

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